Bringing a child into a family through adoption is an extraordinary act that creates a lifetime of legal and economic commitment. Our Short Hills adoption lawyers are ready to assist you through this process so that you can prepare for the new addition to your family. While the path to welcoming a new child can be stressful and complicated, our dedicated family attorneys understand the state, national, and international laws that apply and could guide you through making important decisions during this process.
There are many kinds of adoptions, such as private, domestic or international, contested, or adoptions by foster parents, to name a few. Each type varies in how the system works and the rules that new parents must follow. A Short Hills attorney could help a family through any of these adoption processes.
During a private adoption, the biological and prospective adoptive parents can organize this arrangement with or without the help of an agency. Additionally, these adoptions can happen domestically or internationally. Because various state and international laws may apply to these adoptions, it is important to hire a lawyer in Short Hills who could assist in coordinating the documents and court filings throughout this process.
Adoption of a child by a step-parent can become more complex if a court must terminate the parental rights of a biological parent first. If a child is born and does not have a second parent with rights, a step-parent can file for adoption within three months of their birth. This process can be more streamlined as it does not typically require a lengthy home study and investigation.
There are situations where grandparents or other relatives may already be caring for a child, and they want to adopt them formally. In this scenario, the court must first terminate the rights of the biological parents. This usually involves proof of “unfitness” if a parent abandons or abuses a child.
As in all adoptions, once finalized, the adoptive parents assume all responsibilities for the child, and the birth parents are no longer required to provide support. Birth parents cannot have contact with the child without the permission of the adoptive parents.
Most of these processes begin with extensive home studies. Because courts want to ensure that children grow up in a safe and healthy environment, prospective adoptive parents must undergo an investigation by the state or an approved agency, except in limited circumstances.
With the home study completed, prospective parents can apply for adoption. At the preliminary hearing, based on appropriate evidence, a court will terminate the parental rights of the biological parent or parents. About six months after the preliminary hearing and termination of parental rights, the court will hold a hearing to make the adoption final. A lawyer in Short Hills could help prospective parents prepare for these adoption hearings and guide them through any challenges that may arise during the process.
The adoption process can be complicated and stressful. Our Short Hills adoption lawyers understand how important each step of this journey can be and are here to support your hopes to grow your family. For more information on this exciting lifetime journey, call our team.